My clumsy nod to a legendary girl group aside, for some time I have been struggling with my desire for a family. Setting aside any discussion about the mid-thirties, hormone-induced nature of this desire, or gender socialization, I would instead turn to recent events…
As I have stated in several posts, March is an exciting month because it means the end of weekend obligations for University B. However, this past weekend, while supporting a University B program, I ran into a colleague I had not seen for some time. After we had chatted for some time, she opened her coat to reveal a significant baby bump. While this is exciting news in general, it was made that much more exciting because this colleague is now seven months pregnant, after suffering several miscarriages, at 43. While I was beyond thrilled for her and her husband, I realized later that I was also happy…for myself.
I had just turned thirty-four at the onset of the pandemic and while that wouldn’t qualify me as a spry, young thing, I also didn’t feel old*. I didn’t feel like the things I wanted for myself, a different career, a romantic partnership, or a family were things that wouldn’t happen. Just things that hadn’t happened yet. A little more than two years later and things feel different. The pool of eligible partners seems to be shrinking at an exponential rate, as is my window for conceiving a child. I realized that my “baby love” had reached a new stage when I seriously considered whether or not I would be willing to have a child on my own. After significant consideration, I acknowledged that this did not appeal to me, however, the mere fact that I turned it over in my mind suggested that I was in a different place than I was two years ago.
My student loan debt. Much as it has touched every other aspect of my life, it has also affected my thoughts about having a family. First, I considered whether or not I would be desirable as a mate/partner/mother. My second consideration was whether or not I had the resources to support a child. My parents waited eight years after getting married to have me because they had grown up poor and wanted better for me. Who was I to disrupt this “generational progress” and have a child before I could financially afford it? And finally, should I consider freezing my eggs? Or would this just be another financially irresponsible choice made under the guise of preserving freedom?
I don’t know. Any of it.
*I understand and appreciate that “old” is a relative value, and I am very grateful for every year I get to spend on this planet. So many people have not had the fortune to live long as I have.
P.S. If you were disappointed by the only tangentially, financial nature of this post, blame Eva. 🙂
8 thoughts on “My Baby Love”
Than you for this post, I appreciate your effort towards your readers 😉 I think you are a very good candidate for motherhood, you are thoughtful, responsible and wanting a child. And yes, it can happen at 43 or 45, so no, you are not too old. The egg freezing depends on whether you wish to have a biological child first and foremost. If using a donor or adoption are viable options to you, it is not a must I would say. I hear there are tests that allow to assess your fertility, maybe you can consider doing that if you are really worried. I wish you the best for this endeavor, be it now or in a few years. I have 3 children myself and can confirm that a) it is wonderful b) it is exhausting and c) it is expensive 😁
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I’m impressed (but not surprised) by the thoughtfulness of your post. I think that if you keep identifying how you feel as you go along, as you did when you decided you aren’t willing to have one on your own, you’ll keep finding yourself in good, possibly surprising places. I have two kids and can confirm Eva’s three points! Also, my second is adopted and while the process is different, the commitment and love are the same. I think good things are waiting for you, whether kids are part of that or not.
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” I think that if you keep identifying how you feel as you go along…you’ll keep finding yourself in good, possibly surprising places.” This seems like an exceptionally wise statement. As for the good things…I hope you are right 🙂 Thank you for always being so kind, Ellen.
I appreciate you, Eva. And thank you for the thoughtful comments and reality dish for being a mother/parent. I don’t really have anything substantive to say in response as “I don’t know. Any of it” really summed up where I am with my feelings on this one but I genuinely appreciate you for your thoughtful response and engagement.
I wrote like six long replies and finally decided just to say that this is a hard and very relatable set of feelings and the situation is too personal for real advice. But also I don’t think egg freezing is the answer 🙂
This is such a “C” answer and I love it. Thank you for being a brand I can trust 🙂
Just one thought on having kids with debt– my parents’ big-picture finances were just not really relevant to me when I was a kid. I knew, on a “had it explained to me” level, that they were saving for retirement and trying to pay off their mortgage, but all I really felt was their current spending– did we always have food and clothing (yes), did I generally get what I wanted for Christmas/birthday (yes), did I get things bought for me outside of Christmas/birthday (books only), how big was my allowance (not very). So I feel like the relevant questions around supporting a child are around “affording to give them the childhood you want them to have” and “being in the financial position you want to be in once they’re adults” vs. “getting into your ideal financial position before children, or ASAP with children”.
Thank you so much, Bee. This: “So I feel like the relevant questions around supporting a child are around ‘affording to give them the childhood you want them to have’ and ‘being in the financial position you want to be in once they’re adults’ vs. ‘getting into your ideal financial position before children, or ASAP with children'” is an excellent take/food for thought. The calculation is less about what they know and more about what they experience. Thank you for reminding me of that/encouraging perspective-taking.